Two pieces of paper pasted on the window of an MRT train using scotch tape have not caused any disamenities or posed any safety hazard either — yet, social worker and civil rights activist Jolovan Wham was charged with vandalism for doing so.
Mr Wham on Friday (8 January) referenced a Facebook post by Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung on Thursday, in which the minister said that he will exempt a sticker-covered lamp post in Tuas from being cleared after discussing the issue with the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and sustainable industrial development government agency JTC.
Mr Ong in his post yesterday said of the lamp post: “Urban folklore has it that cyclists on round-island trips will make a pit stop there, where they will take photos with the lamp post, and leave their favourite stickers behind.”
“Many were sad to see these stickers go when street light maintenance contractors cleared them during a routine inspection,” he added.
Thus, said Mr Ong, the authorities have “decided to make an exception for this lamp post, given that it’s a far out location and a special spot to help cyclists find their way”.
“These are little exceptions to the rule, which do not cause disamenities or pose safety hazards to the public, to brighten up life in Singapore,” the Minister added.
Mr Wham in his post today said that the two A4 signs he was charged with vandalism for “were removed after our little art performance was over and didn’t even leave a mark on the plastic”.
The two A4 signs were put up as part of a silent protest Mr Wham held with eight others on an MRT train in June 2017 in commemoration of Operation Spectrum‘s 30th anniversary.
During the protest, Mr Wham and the other individuals also held up copies of “1987: Singapore’s Marxist Conspiracy 30 Years On”.
Operation Spectrum saw 16 people arrested and detained without trial under the Internal Security Act over their alleged involvement in a purported “Marxist conspiracy” to overthrow the People’s Action Party government, with six other people being arrested later in the final stage of the operation.
Mr Wham was charged with seven offences under the Public Order Act, Vandalism Act and Penal Code for that silent protest.